Written & Directed By: Thomas Bezucha
Based On The Novel By: Larry Watson
Cinematography: Guy Godfree
Editor: Jeffrey Ford & Meg Reticker
Cast: Diane Lane, Kevin Costner, Lesley Manville, Jeffrey Donovan, Kayli Carter, Booboo Stewart, Will Brittain, Greg Lawson, Ryan Bruce, Adam Stafford, Connor Mackay
A retired sheriff and his wife, grieving over the death of their son, set out to find their only grandson.
The first half of the movie is more slow-burning, moving family drama built around a tragedy. That is better than one expects.
The film works as a new western. As it is a period tale with plenty of scenery of undisturbed landscapes. That slowly develops into a thriller of morals and honor. It even includes a Native American character. Who becomes a surrogate son for the main characters far away from home.
Kevin Costner, we are used to this type of fun and role. As he more or less recently takes to roles that are more western influenced. So much so you wonder if he Is the new John Wayne or is he trying to be. Only less racist and a little more sensitive. Not to mention modern. Here he takes more of a back seat to Diane lane. Who is the true powerhouse throughout. Taking over scenes with a quiet dignity but ferocious spirit and manner. Costner ends up becoming her backup.
What Is interesting is that this is the type of film that Kevin Costner would usually Star in and direct back in the day. So while his appearance here isn’t surprising, which is how much he stays in the backseat rather than commanding scenes. Even if he becomes more active in the third act.
They both display a fair amount of quiet acting that says so much and comes out of body language, facial gestures, and manners.
Part of the interest In the first half is once they hit the road the people they meet along the way. Showing a kind of Americana. When it was changing and going dark. Hardening to a time of classical American values and idealism and their perversion of it.
It’s also a nice reunion of sorts for Kevin Costner and Diane Lane last seen together in MAN OF STEEL. As the parents of Clark Kent/Superman making them the all-American mid-west couple. Here they are the same only as grandparents and their son went this time around.
Lesley Manville is deep in character and over the top memorable as the mama hen and main villain of the dangerous Weboy clan in this film and amongst the leads, she makes her mark and her presence felt.
In fact, it might have been a little more interesting to see if the lebouf clan and how they operate. Their day-to-day operations and influence, but as they are talked about and built up as some kind of phantoms. They maintain an air of mystery and live up to their reputation and it makes the slow journey to them worth it. Even if they have mroe the unlikeable elements of the crime family in the film ANIMAL KINGDOM only less suggested incest.
We barely get to know them personality-wise other than the matriarch and the family uncle, her consigliere of sorts. Who stands out. The uncle played by Jeffrey Donovan Whose character always offers a smile and a threatening manner.
The film has many memorable scenes. Like the dinner scene at the weboy compound and we meet the family and it seems more a battle for power and strength over one another. Not necessarily physically but by implication.
The Hotel room ambush is another striking scene that has shocking violence. That shows that this film is traditional but also kind of dark.
The film offers an ending that isn’t the massacre you might be expecting and still plays off not as satisfying as you might have hoped.